Week 3 of the campaign: the good, the bad and the ugly

In our second installment, Uncut’s weekly review of the campaign looks at the events of week 3.

The good

Labour’s costed policies

Sunday 12 April – Marr and Osborne. The core Tory strength is a reputation for fiscal probity. Yet here was prime time Osborne appearing anything but.

After more than five years when it has usually seemed that only one party, the Tories, know how to make their sums add up, Marr suddenly left the impression that this party is Labour, not the Tories.

Sam Dale has previously argued on Uncut that the Tory advantage on fiscal credibility is so well established that they can afford, as they certainly now are, to play fast and loose with it. In doing so, though, they deepen a theme of the Tory campaign identified by Jonathan Todd: taking people for idiots.

If Labour keeps showing how our policies are costed, the Tories might just find a trump card slipping away at the last, crucial moment.

The manifesto launch event

The team managing Labour’s events deserve some recognition. Often overlooked as the plaudits go to the more flashy spinners, events folk only tend to get mentioned when something has gone wrong.

But for Labour, trying to shift some pretty entrenched pre-campaign stereotypes, the backdrop and staging of the set-piece events needs to provide the pictures that validate the message.

If anything were to go wrong – as at Ukip’s campaign launch when the blu tak came unstuck and the backdrop fell down – then it’s a lock for the news bulletins as a metaphor for a campaign in trouble.

This week’s manifesto launch was another in a growing list of impressive events.

The message was about responsibility and fiscal discipline and the pictures of Ed Miliband at the event reflected this exactly.

Ed M


Labour has finally found the right shade red for a background while the screens and slogan format all help visually frame Ed Miliband as a future prime minister.

Contrast this with the optics for Labour’s manifesto launch in 2010 in Birmingham where Gordon Brown spoke in front of a video screen.


Even a novice broadcast officer could have told Labour that this would wreck the TV pictures because, when filmed, this type of video screen flickers on the footage, like an old TV set, distracting the eye from the speaker.

A clear sign of progress for Labour.

Labour’s still in the race

With the campaign at the half-way mark, Labour is still in the race. Given the Tories’ advantages with a largely supportive media and commanding leads on the economy and preference for prime minister, many – several Uncut writers included – had expected a more parlous situation.

But the polls remain, essentially tied, and if anything, it is Labour’s campaign that has the momentum.

Could it be that Ed Miliband has crafted a winning position which defies the precedent where no opposition has won while trailing on the economy and leadership? Is the Tories’ brand so toxic that they cannot attract the support needed even to be the largest party?

Or has the public just not engaged with the election yet and the last week will see the Tories get nose in front?

All questions that are open, but it is an unqualified positive that Labour is very much in this race with a credible prospect of victory.

The bad

Tory spin on the challenger debate

Spin is meant to present the facts in the most positive manner. Not to tell outright lies. But this is what the Conservatives did on the night of the challenger debate.

Rather than stay quiet or simply say that the format was not acceptable to them, their line to take involved making each of their representatives lie, from the prime minister down.

In response to questions on his non-attendance, David Cameron said, “I’m a polite individual and if I’m not invited, I’m not going to try and gatecrash it.”

Ian Dunt at politics.co.uk covered the Tory response well here, but suffice to say, it is clumsy and idiotic to lie when the truth is blatantly obvious.

At best, it burns the Conservatives’ capital with journalists reporting the election who are already dubious about Tory claims. At worst, it feeds public cynicism about politics which casts all politicians as liars and cheats.

Shameless and stupid.

It’s the wrong billboard, Gromit

Here’s Cat Smith’s billboard, urging the voters of Lancaster and Fleetwood to vote Labour. One problem: this billboard went up in Carlisle where Lee Sherriff is standing for Labour.

Cat Smith poster

Apparently, it was the fault of the billboard company who had mixed up their sites. Fair enough. But looking more closely at Cat Smith’s poster, raises a couple of questions.

First, if Lancaster Labour are going to pay for a billboard, why didn’t they hire a designer for the poster? And second, is it Labour party policy now to oppose fracking? Really?

The ugly

George Galloway smearing Naz Shah
Here’s George Galloway, posting his weekly appearance in the lowlights of ugly campaigning. This time its smearing Labour’s candidate, Naz Shah as supported by Benjamin Netanyahu.

As Harry’s Place points out, this would be the same Naz Shah who is a passionate advocate of Palestinian rights.

An ugly election in Bradford is getting uglier.

Ukip’s new slogan

More mad than ugly, but worthy of note: here’s an extraordinary new slogan for Ukip, given to Michael Crick by a South Thanet voter.

“My buttocks are smooth, my mind is clear – vote Ukip.”

We’re not sure if it will catch on but it has the merit of being less offensive than Ukip’s usual schtick about immigration.

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2 Responses to “Week 3 of the campaign: the good, the bad and the ugly”

  1. Tafia says:

    This week’s manifesto launch was another in a growing list of impressive events.

    Which explains why they are light years in front in the polls and on course for a majority.

    Oh. Hang on…….

  2. Robert the cripple says:

    Costed, costed by whom, and then you ask where will the money come from for housing, schools education the NHS and all the rest , we are now in a different world then ever before money is tight welfare will be attacked by whom ever wins, pensioners will get hit labour now the party of the poor old squeezed middle class who do not need welfare or benefits.

    I do not see anything costed I see massive cuts coming.

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